Norma J. Brown, 93, passed away at 2:36 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2021, at Providence Pointe Healthcare in Paducah. Mrs. Brown was born to Johnny and Eva Lee (Frazier) Hibbs Renfro in Metropolis, Illinois.
She joined St Paul AME Church, the church her great grandfather helped build, at an early age under Pastor James M. Hassell and attended church every Sunday with Sunday School, morning service, evening A.C.E. League, and evening service.
She attended both elementary and high school in Metropolis and later graduated from Dunbar High School as valedictorian of her class. After high school, she married the love of her life, James L. Brown, in 1946. James was a soldier in the U.S. Army and served his country for 35 years with Norma at his side. He preceded her in death in 2010 and received full military honors at the nation’s largest military cemetery, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.
James served in WWII and joined the Army Reserves when the war ended and married his beloved Norma. The young couple lived in Metropolis, where their first child, Jerry, was born. For better job opportunities, they moved to Battle Creek and later Jackson, Michigan. After a year or so, Norma and Jerry returned to Metropolis where she delivered her second child, Toni. The Korean War was starting so James decided to return to active duty and the family went to Camp Polk, Louisiana, and this began Norma and the family’s military career with James. Listing just a few of the assignments, Louisiana turned into Mannheim, Germany, (where she had her third child, Eric); Fort Riley, Kansas, (where she had her fourth child, Tracy); Flint, Michigan, (while James was deployed); Fort Steward, Illinois; Bamberg, Germany; Fort Knox, Kentucky; Metropolis (while James was deployed); Fort Campbell, Kentucky; Stuttgart, Germany; and finally Fort Knox, Kentucky; where James retired. Norma always marveled at how a girl from small town Metropolis had the opportunity to see the world. In addition to James’ postings, Norma visited the Berlin Wall; London and Gatwick, England; Paris, France; Reykjavik, Iceland; Prague, Czechoslovakia; Shannon, Ireland; and Newfoundland, Canada, to name a few countries. She never regretted her nomad life, as long as she was with James.
Norma was preceded in death by her parents, siblings (George Hibbs, Alton Hibbs, Thelbert Renfro, William Q. Renfro, and Evalyn L. Jones) and loving husband, James, of 63 years, 11 months, 20 days. She is survived by her four children, son-in-law, nine grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren and 2 great-great-grandchildren.
Norma was buried with James after receiving military spouse honors on Oct. 15, 2021, fulfilling her final wish to be together again.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, P. O. Box 1000 Dept 142, Memphis, TN 38101.